Which pre-existing conditions can increase your COVID-19 risk?

Investigations

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — What pre-existing conditions put you in a high-risk group when it comes to coronavirus? A report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention outlines those conditions and, as 8 On Your Side found, some are common.

CDC officials say they looked at the most reliable source of data here: Death certificates. The agency found the vast majority of coronavirus victims had multiple contributing conditions.

According to the latest data available, more than 183,000 Americans have died from coronavirus.

The new CDC report found, “for 6% of the deaths, COVID-19 was the only cause mentioned.”

“For deaths with conditions or causes in addition to COVID-19, on average, there were 2.6 additional conditions or causes per death,” the report goes on to state.

Dr. Scott Atlas, one of President Donald Trump’s top pandemic advisors, was in Tampa on Monday. 8 On Your Side asked him about the new report that 94% of victims had other health issues.

“Are you concerned that headline could give people a false sense of security?” asked investigative reporter Mahsa Saeidi.

“Well, I think this is a very important point, it’s true almost everyone really has significant comorbidities,” said Dr. Atlas. “Certain comorbidities are more important than others.”

The CDC listed the following as the top contributing conditions linked to coronavirus deaths:

  • Influenza and pneumonia
  • Respiratory failure
  • Hypertensive disease
  • Diabetes
  • Vascular and unspecified dementia
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Heart failure
  • Renal failure
  • Intentional and unintentional injury, poisoning and other adverse events
  • Obesity

“Underlying conditions, like high blood pressure, is extremely common,” Dr. John Greene said.

Dr. Greene is the Chief of Infectious Diseases at Moffitt and a hospital epidemiologist

He says, in each of these categories, there’s a spectrum of risk.

“There’s different degrees,” Dr. Greene said. “Poorly-controlled diabetes is going to be a worse outcome than someone who is meticulous and well-controlled.”

The big question: If there are multiple causes of death, can you put the blame on coronavirus?

“Did they die of their heart disease or did they die of COVID-19? Well, they died of both but if they didn’t have COVID-19, there’s a great chance they wouldn’t have died,” Dr. Greene explained.

If you have a coronavirus tip or concern, email investigative reporter Mahsa Saeidi at MSaeidi@WFLA.com

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